Fiennes Lady at Banbury 5
Cross? She was absolutely livid!
Did you know that the Fine lady in the Banbury Cross nursery rhyme was originally a Fiennes Lady? As in Sir Ranulph Fiennes? Some ancestor of his was the lady in question – apparently.
I just mention it as I ended up in Banbury last night for the Banbury 5.
Bit of a last minute thing. Although a few club mates had mentioned it, it had slipped my mind and as a result I still went out and ran four miles at lunchtime. That said it wasn’t fast and my legs didn’t feel particularly tired even after the Otmoor Half on Saturday, plus as it was ‘out of area’ and not an Oxon GP race it didn’t really matter if it all went boobs up.
It was strange to be turning up at a race where I didn’t recognise the majority of the runners, usually I could look around the first three rows of runners on a start line and tell you roughly who would be in the top ten and the rough finishing times. This time I had no idea, and barely even recognised the club vests on show.
We had a reasonable team with us however and although last year’s times looked pretty speedy I was quite looking forward to a jaunt on a completely new course of which I had absolutely no idea of its contents.
That said I still stuck myself up near the front anyway – just in case. The gun fired and even though the course started on a slight hill it seemed quite leisurely, and with the pressure off I was able to open up quite quickly, after half a mile I was next to DC and knew that Vaughany wouldn’t be far behind (for a 59 year old he’s still motoring, those V60 Oxfordshire records are going to start tumbling next year I reckon, and even the British V60 marathon record might need to keep a watch over its shoulder) In fact it was good that he was there as we hit the first mile in just 5:09 (admittedly some downhill) as he urged both DC and myself to ‘calm down boys’.
He was right although we, of course, didn’t really listen hitting mile 2 in 11:12 (admittedly some uphill). This was too fast for me certainly and DC is a slow starter so I didn’t want to get caught up with racing him.
A mile later however I’d eased off a little too much and Vaughany encouraged me to ‘keep with‘ as I started to allow them to grab a few feet on me.
All this time we’d slowly been closing on runner ahead of us, including DPoobody who we’d not seen since the XC season and AndyB from Thame who is always battling it out with us, and a rather flatulent fella who I HAD to get past (odd, wind is a runners curse but it rarely whiffs, no idea what this fella had eaten) however at the three mile point DC started to move away and I decided to see if I could keep up the pace and went too.
The next mile was rolling and hard work, but I still felt quite quick and we began to eat up miles and a few runners too and then we got quicker.
Often the problem with passing people at this point is that you don’t know if they are slowing or if you’re going faster. DC was certainly going faster and had opened up a good 20-30m lead on me, but with the pace getting a bit tasty all around me I reckoned a last mile would have to be at pace.
It was hard work from there but the beauty of running at pace is that if you’re doing it right you’re a lot more efficient than when you’re ‘plodding’ through the middle of the race, I was able to kick from a long way out and although I started to fade with 4/500m left (and got re-taken by a couple of runners) I was able to sprint to the finish, outkicking one guy in the last 15m, which I felt suitably unsporting for…for a second anyway.
Finish time – 28:49 and 20th place, just one second behind DC.
With Vaughany clocking 29:11 just three places back we were well placed to take the team competition, which all depended on the Skip’s position. With hindsight the massive eyes he was exhibiting and his general sprightly demeanour should have given us the clue that he outkicked his nearest rival over the last 200m to win the race (26:37), and give us a comfortable team title!
DC, Vaughany and Jess all took age group honours too so a good night all-round. I could get used to this racing against strangers.
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